Center in the News
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  • Gruening Middle School students speak out on issues of concern - Alaska Star - May Issue 3 2015 - Eagle River, AK
    This year, we received several letters from Gruening Middle School eighth-grade students about what topics they had chosen for a Project Citizen assignment in their social studies class.The annual social studies assignment is a curriculum component created by the Center for Civic Education, the mission of which is “to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries.” Students working on a Project Citizen assignment select a topic, and practice different ways of engaging in government and public discourse in advocacy of their chosen topic. The topics chosen included addressing the problems of substance abuse in Alaska for teens and adults and advocacy for better lighting to be installed at a dangerous intersection that had been the scene of a fatal accident.

  • John W. Eyster: Discover Democracy at Milton High School event | GazetteXtra
    John W. Eyster is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an advocate for Project Citizen, a model curriculum for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. In this article he writes about the Discovering Democracy research fair at Milton High School. He says, "This is a very special opportunity for WE THE PEOPLE of the Milton school district and area to learn more about significant public policy issues. This is the 6th annual fair and I will be there. Each year, I gain additional knowledge and special perspective on significant public policy issues talking with the Discovering Democracy students who are Milton HS seniors ready to graduate.

  • The Courier » WITH VIDEO: Students protest low voter turnout
    A group of Findlay High School students who waved signs high in the air as they rallied in front of the Hancock County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon say the low voter turnout in Hancock County during the May primary election sparked the idea. “We feel this is a real tragedy,” senior Timothy Polelle said of the less than 13 percent voter turnout earlier this month. The We the People civics team at the high school rallied in front of the courthouse and handed out voter registration forms as well as informational brochures about the history of voting and statistics of voter turnout, not only in Hancock County, but across the country. Polelle said his government class was assigned a “make a difference project” and chose voter turnout awareness after the results of the primary election. “Even in places like Hancock County, Flag City USA fails to have a high voter turnout,” Polelle said.“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a say in government.”

  • Bring history and civics back to the classroom - Washington Times
    America received its history and civics report card recently, but there won’t be any bumper stickers boasting of making the honor roll. The release of the U.S. Department of Education’s latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for history, civics and geography shows that we are raising another generation of historical and civic amnesiacs. Overall scores for the “Nation’s Report Card” were stagnant, maintaining a long-term trend of dismal performance. Of the nearly 29,000 eighth grade students tested last year, only 18 percent were deemed “proficient” or better in history, and only 23 percent in civics. Only a third of students could identify one reason for and against ratification of the Constitution or identify how the role of government changed because of the New Deal. The NAEP tests history and civics only once every four years — half as frequently as math and reading — and now, beginning with the 2015 results, at only a single level: eighth grade.

  • EGR's We the People team represents Michigan well at nationals | MLive.com
    East Grand Rapids High School, representing Michigan, finished eighth in the nation at the annual "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" national finals competition. Placing in the top 10 teams gave the East Grand Rapids students the opportunity to compete the final day on Capitol Hill. The team of 31 juniors and seniors from East Grand Rapids High School spent the past year studying core democratic texts, theories and history to prepare for the national competition. The team was led by coach Janice Yates, assistant coach Alex Constantelos, and student coaches from the previous year's team. "This is a life-changing experience," said Yates. "I was blown away by the poise and articulate responses given by our students. They represented the State of Michigan extraordinarily well."

  • Carl Hayes Explains Why "We the People" Civics Contest is a Good Bet | Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
    n a recent IndyStar article, firm partner Carl Hayes discussed the We the People program as teams from Cathedral High School and Munster High School prepared to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C. More than 6,000 Hoosier students participate in We the People, which is administered by the Indiana Bar Foundation. Hayes is a member of the board of the Indiana Bar Foundation and serves as the chair of its Development and Communications committee; he also is a regular We the People volunteer. We the People puts the “rounded” in a well-rounded education. The curriculum grounds students in the nation’s foundational documents, theories and people; the competition demands they apply that knowledge persuasively. “It’s not enough to know what the Three-fifths Compromise is, they have to understand it in context,” Hayes said. “They learn to think about the ‘why’ — why things are important and not just the facts.”

  • Sixth-graders urge faster ash tree removal - Highland Park News
    Students' research into the emerald ash borer disease's havoc led them to conclude that the City of Highland Park should accelerate the pace of tree removal on city property rather than prolong the inevitable. They conducted the research and presented their findings during a mock legislative hearing as part of Project Citizen, a nationwide program that encourages students to investigate a public policy issue of local importance and come up with solutions."The skills that students develop through participating in Project Citizen are very valuable. It's a learning tool that integrates reading, writing, research, public speaking, knowledge of governmental processes and critical thinking skills," said Jennifer Ferrari, assistant superintendent. "It is a tremendous program, because it teaches kids the importance of their voice — that they can have an impact no matter what their age," said Mayor Nancy Rotering,

  • Chris Rickert: Informed citizenship requires more than a 'strong C' on citizenship test : Wsj
    The bill sponsored by WI Republican state Rep. James Edming to make high school graduation contingent on passing the civics portion of the U.S. citizenship test runs the risk of being both redundant and reductive. John Hale, associate director for the California-based Center for Civic Education, said civics educators are split on making students take the 100-question test. Those in favor “think the test might lead to an increase in legislative attention to civics that will at least increase the quantity of civics instruction,” while those against “see the test as essentially a reductive exercise in memorization that could turn students off to civics and government.” As teacher Kevin Fox told me: “Teaching civic education needs to be real. It has to go beyond theory and history and structural understanding” and get students “‘out of the book’ and into some real contact with politics and government.”

  • Laurel 'We the People' team got great support Billings Gazette
    On behalf of the "We the People" state champions and Montana representatives at nationals, thank you to the local businesses, local organizations and local people of Yellowstone County. By helping us pay the fees to travel and stay in D.C., you not only assisted in plane ticket costs, but you supported something greater. You supported the upcoming generation. Laurel's "We the People" team of 26 represents the next voters, congressmen, senators and active citizens in American government. The passion for American government is something we will feel for the rest of our lives, and while our teacher may have planted the seed, you watered and gave it the sunshine needed to grow. This opportunity was truly once in a lifetime, and you made it possible. Thank you to all who opened their door to some funny looking kids asking for money. Thank you to every individual or organization that sent donations to Laurel High School. Thank you to the businesses that promoted us and made our cause known.

  • Munster We the People team places 10th in nation
    Creating the U.S. Constitution in the late 1780s brought together many talents, teamwork and support from people in diverse communities. That same combination helped Munster High School’s 22-member We the People team place 10th in the nation at the 28th annual finals last month at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and in Washington, D.C., said Michael Gordon, a government teacher at Munster High and the team's coach for the past 12 years. “We have this unbelievable community support,” Gordon said. “Lawyers, professionals and parents, some of them alumni from past teams, volunteer and come back year after year to work with the students.” Those We the People alumni include MHS seniors who were members of last year’s team as juniors. “They only get to do this once,” Gordon said. “They’re not allowed to return, so as many students as possible have a chance (to be part of the team). There is something unbelievably important and special about these kids.”